I had the recent fortune of receiving my Fire Raptors before xmas. Quickly did I push aside all my other projects to start on them.
After cleaning the parts up and dry fitting them together half a dozen times I spent some time straightening some of the parts. Compared to the Storm Eagle, the Fire Raptors are a much easier kit to work with. You can see where Forgeworld has learnt from the Storm Eagle and fixed several issues with the new variant.
I still needed to spend a lot of time ensuring the parts glued together straight and both the models required a lot of work with a hair dryer whilst I assembled them
The end result is some very nice looking gunships to add to my Imperial Fists Legion!
All going to plan I will have these painted over the holiday break
There are still a lot of issues surrounding getting the top wings to align properly with the engine uprights above the intake. I had to shave 1mm off mine to get the overhang acceptable. Oddly it was only on the right hand side where I had this problem, and on both models. The actual engine support measures 1mm shorter than the same part on the left hand side which was weird. Not sure whether its shrinkage, bad casting, warpage or compression...
The Fire Raptor includes the wash board covers on the main body engine covers now. The downside here is you cannot use them to cover up any gaps. This was the hardest area to get right. I spent a few hours with the hairdryer getting the engine brackets straight and lined up with the top cover struts.
It all looks symetrical now however I did have to break off the left engine and reposition it to get it level, leaving a small gap between the fuselage and engine.
You can see the internal bracing inside the aircraft here. Oddly it dosnt quite reach to the roof thus missing out on another contact point to strengthen/straighten it with.
I drilled out the barrels and vents on the main guns. This reminds me of the A10 Warthog!
You can see the gaps between the engine and fuselage here. They are only small but will require some greenstuff work to get right
These next three images show the landing gear pods complete with the most unsightly gaps. These have groves that they recess into ensuring they are positioned right, yet dont fit!
Maybe I just received a bad set but both my gunships have the same gap. Nothing a bit of green stuff wont fix however.
Overall, the kit is giant leap forward in assembling over the storm eagle. It appears that Forgeworld have listened to their customers and made improvements to the kit assembly.
It still suffers alot from being a plastic/resin hybrid kit. I noticed that the top rear fuselage/engine cover had shrunk 1mm when compared to the plastic front top. This is what caused me the most issues with getting the sides straight, engines level and wings aligned.
At least I did not have to call up and order replacement parts (as I have done for my last 5 orders!). The kit itself should still be approached as an expert level thanks to those long sides and the alignment issues.
The one recommendation to Forgeworld to improve this kit would be to increase the thickness of the fuselage sides (similar to the Landraider Proteos) and to just skip the 5 or so plasic bits and cast it all in resin.
Hopefully I have no such issues with my Fellblade when it arrives. I know this has very long straight sections as will.